The autism strategy has re-enforced the need for support for young people with autism in transition to adulthood.
To find service providers in your area, visit www.autism.org.uk/directory
Greater Manchester Autism Consortium
The Greater Manchester Autism Consortium (GMAC) is a partnership between the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester and The National Autistic Society (NAS). The consortium carries out joint work on a variety of issues. One area of work is their transition project.
At the request of the Department of Health, the consortium undertook research into what was happening for people with autism in transition from childhood to adulthood in Greater Manchester. Based on the findings of this research, three recommendations were made.
- The first recommendation was that parents of young people going through transition should have access to better information. Research showed that the majority of young people with autism were not being lead through a formal transition process or pathway. This was partly because they were not considered eligible for either children's social care or adult social care. In many cases people were being deemed ineligible for adult social care without a community care assessment having been conducted. It was decided, therefore, that timely information, about the kinds of services available and eligibility criteria, for example, would help parents to navigate the system better.
- The second recommendation was that people with autism should receive better information about what adulthood means. The consortium recommended that, ideally starting at school and continuing through to college/ university or training, young people with autism should be helped to gradually work through a checklist or workbook of issues that they may encounter in transition to adulthood.
- The third recommendation was that capacity should be built within communities by ensuring that universal services understand the needs of people with autism and start to work flexibly with them.
In June 2012, the research and recommendations were published in the Greater Manchester Consortium transition report.
The Consortium funds and steers the Family Services Development Project (FSDP) which is managed by the NAS. Following publication of this report, the FSDP was tasked to action the recommendations. So far the FSDP has developed and delivered a two-day workshop for parents covering issues such as working with services, transition to college and university, employment, entitlement to benefits and health and social care support. The FSDP has also developed a capacity building project in Wigan, which delivers awareness raising to agencies such as job centres and housing services and runs one stop shops with other local non autism specific agencies.
The National Autistic Society
The National Autistic Society took a leadership role in areas close to its schools to bring together local stakeholders and to encourage collaborative working to improve transition to adulthood.
The Robert Ogden School, Radlett Lodge School, Helen Allison School and Broomhayes School brought together local colleges, specialist providers of supported employment, other schools and local authorities, to work together to develop their transitions practice for young people with autism. The groups worked together to identify ways to increase the range of opportunities that young people have in the local area, in order to ensure effective preparation for adulthood, and to identify the best possible phased transition arrangements.
Some of the groups developed support mechanisms and information to improve access to work experience and supported employment. They also focused on developing social enterprise models to increase the range of life and work experience opportunities available in their area.
Alongside this, the groups considered the best ways to support families through the transition from school and further education into adult life.
Although these partnership projects officially came to an end in July 2013, the collaborative working arrangements will continue to influence how schools, colleges, agencies and organisations seek to support local authorities in their work to best support young people with autism and their families to have as successful a transition as possible into adult life.
Department for Education (2002). Autistic spectrum disorders: Good practice guidance. 'Transitions and moving to post-school provision'. Page 110.
Department for Education (2001). SEN toolkit. 'Section 10: Transition Planning'.
Stobart, A. Autism Education Trust (AET). Transition toolkit: Helping you support a child through change.
Ben Higgins for South West Valuing People Board (2009). Good practice in supporting adults with autism: guidance for commissioners and statutory services. Page 16.